LSU-Shreveport blocks Xavier's path at NAIA tournament
March 15, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Derrick Parker, the NAIA
Division I leader in blocked shots, rejected Jamaan Kenner's 3-point attempt with
five seconds remaining Thursday to preserve LSU-Shreveport's 66-63 men's
basketball victory against Xavier University of Louisiana in the opening round
of the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I National Championship.
The Pilots (26-7), ranked 12th, advanced to a 12:30
p.m. Friday game against fifth-ranked Southern Poly, a 66-60 winner against
Cumberlands. The Gold Rush, ranked 21st and in the tournament for the
second consecutive year and the sixth time in eight seasons, finished 23-9.
Xavier missed four field goals on the same possession
in the final 17 seconds,
including two blocked 3-pointers, to cap a roller-coaster game in which the Gold Rush
led 10-1 through six minutes, trailed 36-25 at halftime, rallied for a 47-42 lead with 9:52 remaining, then
lost the lead for good in the 33rd minute.
Greg Shyne scored 18 points, Parker 13, Cody Walker 12
and Mark Politte 11 for LSUS, which won its seventh in a row and for the 18th
time in 19 games. Parker, a first-team NAIA All-American two years ago,
grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked six shots.
Isiah Bazile, who had eight points, 11 rebounds and
seven assists, blocked Xavier's other late 3-pointer, by Kevin Miller with
17 seconds remaining. Miller and Denzell Erves also missed 2-pointers during
the final Gold Rush possession.
Chris Iles scored 20 points, and Erves had 12 points
and seven rebounds for Xavier. Wanto Joseph, an XU junior who entered the game with four
career 3-pointers, was 3-of-4 from behind to arc and finished with nine
points, five assists and no turnovers in 19 reserve minutes.
Xavier played its best in the first 12 minutes of
each half, when it outscored LSUS by a combined 36-18. But the Pilots
outscored the Gold Rush by a combined 48-27 in the final eight minutes of
Two shooting streaks moved the Pilots into contention
in the first half and into control of the game in the second. LSUS made six
consecutive shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers, to turn a 14-9
deficit into a 25-20 lead at 4:51 of the first half. After Xavier made 5-of-6 3-pointers
to open the second period with a 22-6
run, the Pilots answered again by hitting five in a row from the floor.
Politte's 3-pointer, the only one he made in seven tries, put LSUS ahead to
stay at 52-51 with 7:09 remaining and started an 8-0 burst.
Shyne's two free throws with 1:15 remaining gave LSUS
a 63-55 lead, but Xavier didn't fold. The Pilots missed 6-of-9 free throws in
the final 64 seconds, and 3-pointers by Joseph with 36 seconds remaining
and Iles nine seconds later trimmed
the LSUS lead to three. When Bazile missed a pair of free throws with 25
seconds remaining and Miller rebounded the second, Xavier still had a shot.
Yet free-throw shooting was equally troubling for
the XU men, who were 6-of-15, including five consecutive misses in the final
10 minutes. The Gold Rush were fouled three times in the final eight minutes
while making baskets — Iles twice and Anthony Simmons once — but
Xavier failed to make all three free throws.
Both teams shot less than 40 percent from the floor
— LSUS 36.1 percent, Xavier 35.4 — and the Pilots had a 46-42
rebound advantage. The Rush made 11 3-pointers, equaling its most ever at
NOTES: It was the final XU game for
seniors Iles, Kenner (six points, four rebounds), Cordell Hadnot (no points
but a team-high nine rebounds) and Jeremy Lee (no points) . . .
attend medical school this fall . . .
LSUS was a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference rival of Xavier from
2003-10. The Pilots, now a member of the Red River Athletic Conference,
lead the series 12-3 (3-0 postseason) . . .
Xavier made its most 3-pointers
since hitting 13-of-18 in a victory at William Carey on
Feb. 2, 2008 . . .
second-round upset of unbeaten and top-ranked Sam Houston State in 1973,
Xavier is 1-12 at nationals. The lone victory was in 2007 . . .
It's the first time since the mid-1980s that Xavier finished with single-digit
losses in consecutive seasons.